Emma Makepeace is a 20-something living in London, hoping to find love, and making her way in her career. So far so normal. Except that Emma is a spy working for MI6.
When a colleague is found dead, locked in a suitcase and left in his riverside flat, Emma and her boss Ripley set about finding out what happened to him – and why. That becomes clearer when they discover his latest assignment had been looking into the dealings of several Russian oligarchs who were peddling drugs and chemical weapons, and living the high life in London and across Europe as a result.
Their biggest suspect, Andrei Volkov, is about to set sail on his gleaming, multi million pound superyacht, around the crystal blue waters of St Tropez. The only way to infiltrate his world and find out exactly what happened to the man in the suitcase is to get onto his yacht as an undercover worker. Something Emma is asked to do.
‘Films, TV shows, and James Bond, have given us such a narrow and slanted view of what a spy looks like,’ author Ava Glass tells Grazia. ‘People tend to ignore women, which, when you’re a young female spy, is exactly what makes you so brilliant at it.’
Glass became interested in the world of spies when she worked for the British government and met several of them. ‘This book all started when I was working for the government, where I spent five years in communications dealing with counter terrorism and working with actual spies. One of the first I met was a young woman in her late twenties, who was so confident and fearless. I was completely fascinated by her.’
Glass says during the time they worked together their paths would often cross, at their favourite coffee shop or on the walk to work, and then one day the spy simply disappeared.
‘That’s where this book came from,’ she says. ‘I had friends who aspired to be spies and would apply and apply, but it’s an incredibly difficult process. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to do it, but I’ve always been interested in their world.’
And in particular, female spies. ‘In reality, women make amazing spies because everybody around them either doesn’t notice them, takes them for granted, or puts them into a box of what they think a woman is. In short, they underestimate them, and that’s jolly handy when you’re a spy.’
It’s also handy for our heroine, Emma, who finds herself hopping between glamorous locations from the Cote d’Azur to Barcelona on her new boss’s yacht. But despite her stunning surroundings, she’s also adrift – literally – on a large boat with a potentially murderous oligarch and his muscular henchman who seems to have his suspicions about Emma’s ‘character’, Jessica, the innocent young yacht worker.
Will she stay safe long enough to find out what’s going on, and who the other shady characters involved are? By the time you race this through gripping spy drama, you’ll know for yourself.
1. The Traitor
By the new Queen of Spy Fiction according to The Guardian
Grazia Book Club gives its verdict:
‘The spy thriller we’ve all been waiting for with a badass heroine, The Traitor is an action-packed page turner full of fantastic characters, atmospheric adventure and intrigue. Make it into a movie please!’ Michaela
‘I read this fast-paced thriller in one sitting!’ Kate
‘Emma Makepeace is both the hunter and the hunted. This thriller kept me on my toes, with many twists and turns.’ Tina